Why Plant a Garden with Vegetables
Starting a vegetable garden at home is an easy way to save money -- that 10 tomato plant can easily provide you with 1000rs of fruit over the course of a season
Planting a garden with vegetables also gives you the pleasure of savoring a delicious, sun-warmed tomato fresh from the garden. In almost every case, the flavor and texture of varieties you can grow far exceed the best grocery store produce.
Plus, growing vegetables can be fun. It's a great way to spend time with children or have a place to get away and spend time outdoors in the sun
Learning what to plant in a garden with vegetables, and how to tend them for the best harvest, is probably easier than you think. If you plan it right, you can enjoy a beautiful garden full of the fruits of your labor -- without having to spend hours and hours tending it. Planting a garden that includes vegetables and flowers means you've combined natural companions, and that can turn a potential eyesore into an attractive landscape feature.
Deciding What to Plant in a Garden with Vegetables
At first, when deciding what to plant in a garden with vegetables, it's best to start small. Many gardeners get a little too excited at the beginning of the season and plant more than they need -- and end up wasting food and feeling overwhelmed by their garden.
So first, take a look at how much your family will eat when you think about how to plan a vegetable garden. Keep in mind that vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and squash keep providing throughout the season -- so you may not need many plants to serve your needs. Other vegetables, such as carrots, radishes, and corn, produce only once. You may need to plant more of these.
Determining How Much Space You Need
Once you know what you want to plant, you can figure out how plan a vegetable garden with the right amount of space.
Keep in mind when figuring out what to plant in a garden with vegetables that you don't need a large space to begin. If you choose to grow in containers, you don't even need a yard -- a deck or balcony may provide plenty of space.
In fact, a well-tended 10x10-foot vegetable garden will usually produce more than a weed-filled or disease-ridden 25x50-foot bed.Picking the Perfect Spot
No matter how big your vegetable garden is, or how you determine what to plant in a garden, there are three basic requirements for success:
1. Full sun. Most vegetables need at least 6-8 hours of direct sun. If they don't get enough light, they won't bear as much and they'll be more susceptible to attack from insects or diseases.
Here's a hint: If you don't have a spot in full sun to plant a garden with vegetables, you can still grow many leafy vegetables such as lettuce and spinach. And if you're in a hot-summer climate, cool-season varieties such as peas may do better in part shade.
2. Plenty of water. Because most vegetables aren't very drought tolerant, you'll need to give them a drink during dry spells. When thinking about how to plan a vegetable garden, remember: The closer your garden is to a source of water, the easier it will be for you.
3. Good soil. As with any kind of garden, success usually starts with the soil. Most vegetables do best in moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter (such as compost or peat moss).
Many gardeners like to have their vegetable gardens close to the house. This makes it easier to harvest fresh produce while you're cooking. It can also be handy to keep a few favorite potted vegetables next to your grill.Stopping Pests and Diseases
Pests and disease are ongoing problems for most vegetable gardeners. Although specific problems may require special solutions, there are some general principles you can follow.
Deer and rabbits. Use fences to deter rabbits. Make sure the bottom of the fence extends about 6 inches under the soil to stop rabbits from digging underneath it. The fence needs to stand at least 8 feet above the ground to prevent deer from jumping over it.
Spring insects. Row covers, which are lightweight sheets of translucent plastic, protect young crops against many common insects. Row covers are also helpful to prevent damage from light frosts.
Fungal diseases. Reduce fungal diseases by watering the soil, not the leaves of plants. If you use a sprinkler, do it early in the day so the leaves will dry by nightfall.
If a plant falls prey to a disease, remove it promptly and throw it in the trash; don't add sick plants to your compost pile.
Grow varieties that are listed as disease resistant. Garden catalogs and websites should tell you which varieties offer the most protection.
Make it a habit to change the location of your plants each year. In other words, if you grew tomatoes in the northwest corner of your garden this year, put them in the northeast corner next year. This reduces the chances that pests will gain a permanent foothold in your garden.
Summer insects. Pick larger insects and caterpillars by hand. Once you get over the "yuck!" factor, this is a safe and effective way to deal with limited infestations.
Use insecticidal soap sprays to control harmful bugs. Most garden centers carry these products. Whatever pest control chemicals you use, read the label carefully and follow the directions to the letter.